08 Sep Are You Engaging Your Stakeholders?
COVID-19 has changed the way many of us work and those changes are unlikely to be temporary. A huge number of businesses have found themselves switching to doing business online. There are many advantages to being online, not least the ability to engage directly with existing and potential customers directly, but the downside is that people are bombarded with online content every second of every day, and some companies have huge teams and mega budgets to work with. So, how do you cut through and make your business heard?
What Do Your Stakeholders Want to Hear?
Firstly, it is really important to focus on what your audience wants to hear, read or see, not on what you want to tell them. This can be a difficult mindshift for businesses and it is easy to understand why. You spend so much time in your business, working on making it the best it can possibly be, you are proud of it and you want to share your excitement with the world. The trouble is, so does everyone else. What can seem exciting to you, might not be exciting to your potential customers, suppliers, partners or investors. When you are competing in an increasingly crowded online space, you can’t afford to waste time talking about things your audience isn’t interested in.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’ve moved to a new way of manufacturing a product. You’ve made a big investment in the new process and you want to make an announcement. But will it be of interest to anyone else? Unless you can find a way of translating it into something meaningful to your audience, chances are it won’t be. And what will make it interesting varies on the type of audience. Consumers wants to hear very different things from potential investors, partners or suppliers. The simple guide is to think about ‘what’s in it for me’ and then put yourself in the position of the different audiences.
In this case a consumer audience will need to know how the new process affects the price, the functionality or the design of the product before they will be interested. They probably won’t be interested in the process itself, but if it means they can buy a favourite product at a cheaper price, the product will have new functionality that they really want, the new process supports the environment or another cause they are passionate about or there is a new design element that makes the product more sought after, there’s a good chance they will want to read your news.
An investor audience will want to know why you are making the investment in a new process. Is it part of a wider strategy that will bring growth to the business? Is it a well- thought-out move or something that could put your business in financial trouble? You need to tailor communications meant for this audience with these facts in mind and you need to send it to the publications and social media platforms that are relevant to them.
If you take the same story from a different angle, you could find a whole new audience to talk to. Your investment in a new process could be great news for a local business that you are buying equipment or skills from. In that case you want a specific story to focus on this angle which you send to media and social media that focuses on telling stories relevant to that location. Your ultimate aim might not be to talk about the specific location but by doing so you are making the story relevant to a new audience who will then learn more about your business. They may even end up becoming customers, partners, suppliers or investors.
Start with the Basics
It can seem almost impossible to know where to start when it comes to getting yourself talked about. My advice is to start with the basics and always try to look at your communications from the point of view of your audience. Are you telling them something they will find interesting? Or are you talking about what is interesting to you?